The Secret : The 4 Steps to Forgiving Others

The Secret : The 4 Steps to Forgiving Others

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“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV)

Too many of us don’t really understand what forgiveness is. I’m convinced that if more people knew what real forgiveness looked like, they’d be much more willing to forgive instead of holding on to past hurts at an unhealthy level.

The Bible clearly calls us to forgive others. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently” (NIV).

So if God expects us to forgive others, what does healthy, biblical forgiveness look like? Here’s a four-part process that we should walk through as we’re dealing with pain brought upon by others.

1 . First, recognize no one is perfect. When we hate somebody, we tend to lose our perspective about that person. When we’re filled with resentment and bitterness and hurt, we tend to dehumanize the offender.

But we’re all in the same boat. The Bible says, “Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20 NLT). We’re all imperfect.

2. Next, relinquish your right to get even. This is the heart of forgiveness. The Bible says, “Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it” (Romans 12:19 TLB). You may feel like you have the right to retaliate, but you must commit to not doing so. It may not seem fair, but it’s healthy. And this isn’t a one-time decision but a daily one that may even require moment-by-moment decisions.

3. Then, respond to evil with good. It’s nearly impossible to do this without God’s help. You’ll need the love of Jesus to fill you up. Why? Because God’s love doesn’t keep track of wrongs (see 1 Corinthians 13).

4. Finally, refocus on God’s plan for your life. You stop focusing on the hurt and the person who hurt you. Instead, you refocus on God’s purpose for your life, which is greater than any problem or pain you might be currently facing.

As long as you continue to focus on the person who has hurt you, that person controls you. In fact, if you don’t release your offender, you will begin to resemble your offender.

Don’t spend another day in your resentment. If you’ve been holding on to pain caused by someone else, go through these four steps and move on to the rest of the life you were created to live!


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